Aleksander Aamodt Kilde has a huge task to follow in the ski tracks of an illustrious trio of fellow Norwegians but he hopes to emulate their Olympic success in Beijing in February.
The 29-year-old is one half of alpine skiing’s golden couple with his girlfriend, US star Mikaela Shiffrin.
While Shiffrin has two Olympic titles to her name, Kilde has a bare medals cupboard, though with three successive super-G wins on the World Cup circuit this season he is in the perfect form to set that right.
If he needs motivation he need look no further than the now-retired Kjetil Andre Aamodt, who dominated at the Olympics, winning the event a remarkable three times in 1992, 2002 and 2006.
Kilde’s form – he also has a downhill victory this season – is all the more creditable given he tore cruciate ligaments in his right knee last January.
The 2020 overall World Cup champion is relaxing back in Innsbruck before the season resumes and has had time to contemplate if his third Olympics will indeed be lucky for him.
“It’s big shoes to fill though,” he said in a phone interview, referring to Aamodt, 2010 Olympic super-G champion Aksel Lund Svindal and Kjetil Jansrud, who won the event at the 2014 Sochi Games.
“When you mention these names it’s crazy to think about it.
“It’s incredible how they managed to do that.
“Of course I want to try to keep that a Norwegian thing, but it’s easier said than done.”
‘Not on the same page’
Kilde also competed in the 2018 downhill in Pyeong chang, won by Svindal with Jansrud taking the silver medal, but despite finishing 15th he said it remained the most inspiring sporting moment for him because of his country’s success.
“Aksel and Kjetil being one and two . . . that was a little bit unexpected because the preparation for that race did not go well,” Kilde said.
“The video and analysis for everything was kind of a question. But they found their rhythm.
“I remember this being such an amazing day for the team.”
Kilde says he will avoid challenging Shiffrin to an Olympic medals contest in Beijing – and not just because it might be tempting fate.
“I am smart enough to say I don’t think I want to have any competition with her when it comes to performance!” he said with a laugh.
“If you look at her statistics I’m not on the same page.”
However, Kilde – who is three years older than Shiffrin – said he has learned from the American’s Olympic success.
“Yes we talk about it,” he said.
“For sure these Olympics are going to be different.
“But we try to look at it as a new experience, stay positive and give each other some confidence.”
Kilde says the injury has forced him to change his post-race routine as his knee is sore and he cannot indulge in as tough a programme as he did before.
“I think it’s not going to be like that for the rest of my career but for this season at least it is going to be different.”
Kilde says the four wins have been “amazing” and he never expected to return with such a bang, which has given him the confidence he so badly needed ahead of the Games.
“I want to keep that confidence all the way through the Olympics and through the season,” he said.
“It’s going to be an Olympics where things are new for everyone, no one has tried the slope.”